Thursday, 28 October 2021

Business Ethics and Value Systems By Dr. Mruthyunjaya

Ethics is just a concept or a thought that stands for Virtue-based discipline of the human mind. Based on its observations, studies, discussions/interactions and experience, the human mind keeps continuously acquiring knowledge and refining the same as and when new information or data is available to enrich its data bank about various issues and aspects. The human mind also keeps differentiating between right and wrong or between virtues and vices. This differentiation enables it to direct and monitor actions and responses to circumstantial situations around.  Next, it analyses the acquired data through a thorough introspection to draw a clear demarcation line between right and wrong or between virtues and vices. Moreover, the normal human mind strives to acquire information regarding absolute righteousness about different issues for this purpose.

Absolute righteousness stands for the highest order of virtues and occupies the innermost strata of the human mind. The sensitive human mind always aligns itself with the virtue side of the spectrum and directs all actions and responses of people, whether instantaneous or planned and well thought over to draw the key driving force only from the inner strata of virtues’ spectrum and ensures that all actions have the backing of the nobility of thought. Ethics, thus, happens to be the camouflaging virtue of the key driving force behind all actions of people.  This nobility of thought, also known as Morale, always distances itself from the influence of external parameters. And hence, the first thought of people would always be virtue-based because it originates from an un-impacted, virgin, purest and noblest knowledge about an issue, fact or a phenomenon. 

When we say that both Ethics and Morale stand for Virtue-based discipline of the human mind, how can they be different from each other? 

A close examination reveals that there is only a hairline thick border between   Ethics and Morale. While morale does not get impacted by external parameters and stays firm in its alignment with the innermost core of the virtues spectrum, ethics, on the contrary, tends to get impacted by many external parameters easily but still tries to align itself with at least the outer strata of the virtues spectrum. While morale finds a firm footing in the inner core of the virtues’ sphere, ethics has its base at the outer strata of the virtues sphere. Ethics could therefore be described as the synthetic output of synergistic interactions between many first seed thoughts that govern the overall macro-conscience of the human mind. Since the human mind keeps continuously learning from experience and exposure to realities of life, its concept of rights and wrongs also gets refined and enriched as and when it updates its knowledge bank. Similar to knowledge evolution, Ethics, namely the concepts of Rights and Wrongs, also traverses through the three phases of evolution, namely Nucleation of First Seed of Ethical Thought, Growth and Refinement of the first Ethical Thought and Crystallisation of the thought to derive Clear Concepts of Ethics.

Society ensures that all follow the righteous path without exception and reference to personal and/or collective discomfort or inconvenience and meticulously followed such a highly disciplined social order until a few decades back. People had no option but to follow the ethical dictum of society.  The ethical way of carrying out all activities has remained the norm of society for a long time.

Over a period of time, human greed steadily corroded the nobility of thoughts and actions and concepts of Competitive Material Comfort steadily overweighed the basic social norms of spiritual, emotional and ethical requirements. Implantation of this first seed of Knowledge Corruption (Mother of all Unethics!) gave rise to the onset of the phenomenon of Unethics, and people started coming more and more under the influence of many external parameters while deciding about an issue. 

The innovative human mind did not take much time to invent many novel routes to circumvent the righteous, ethical path to dig into the very vitals of value structures across society. Traditional value structures that stood the test of time for generations steadily got completely eroded and collapsed. The welfare of the general public remained a mere paper exercise of executives, far from reality. Ethical Requirements had to be administered and enforced. Thus originated the concept of Business Ethics, Professional Ethics, etc., intending to formulate, refine, administer, monitor and enforce ways and means of practising a business activity or a profession. The word Profession embraces all fields and walks of life across society, including voluntary and social services.

As an ever receiving beneficiary, the social responsibility and the accountability associated with a business enterprise or a profession demanded certain plough back in terms of intellectual and economic development of the society. This concept gave rise to the onset of Value Systems for business establishments. With further passage of time, the concept of value systems grew stronger by evolving and embracing concepts of Corporate Governance and Environmental Ethics. 

Many theories came up to explain and justify ethical dictums evolved from time to time. Knowledge Theory is one of the most ancient theories developed by traditional Indian scholars on the concept that Ethics is an ever evolutionary process and that the first seed of the Knowledge-Driven Concept of Righteousness should be sown and implanted in the human mind right in its tender age and nourished all through the younger age for an everlasting impact (The Foundation Principle). This theory upheld and propagated in Bhagavad-Gita states that one should discharge one’s duty-bound responsibility with total dedication and sincerity as demanded by the righteousness (truth) associated with the act of execution without fear or favour. 

This theory provided a good base for developing many other ethical theories that came to be known from time to time. Some of these theories use these concepts but explain them differently. Lawrence Kohlberg’s Theory, Carol Gilligan’s Theory, Consequentialism Theory, Utilitarian Theory, Virtue Theory. Deontology Theory, Duty Theory, Right’s Theory, Immanuel Kant’s Theory, Utilitarian Theory, Non-consequentialism Theory, Social Contract theory, etc., are some of the more popular ethical theories that caught the attention of intellectuals across the society.  Collectively they emphasised a supra-legal moral model built on five broad principles, namely Harm principle (avoiding unwarranted harm to people), Fairness principle (fairness of all actions and activities, to be fair to people and society), Human rights principle (respecting human rights), Autonomy principle: (non-interference in personal choices of people) and Veracity principle (freedom from deceptive practices). They also emphasised that the law merely specifies the lowest common denominator of acceptable behaviour and that organisations should work more towards establishing harmony, congeniality and comfort for all in the society. 

In today’s socio-economic context, one can say that any act of a person, whether an individual, a professional or an organisation, can be declared ethical if it is driven by Pure (Unadulterated, Virgin) Knowledge, unquestionable nobility-guided righteousness and is driven by Totality of fairness to all concerned. When these three basic criteria are met, then it would automatically address total compliance to the laws of the land (legal norms), stipulations and/or statutory guidelines set by concerned governments, local or global or both as may be applicable and guards the genuine interests and/or requirements of the society, local or global or both, as may be applicable and the mankind as a whole without jeopardising the moral ethos of the societies concerned or the individuals involved in the process. Above all, the objective or cause behind an action should also be very fair and noble. For business establishments, the concept of fairness should primarily embrace direct (external) customers, the impacted society and/or social establishments, the workforce of the organisation, business investors, business establishments, the impacted environment (Local and Global).

But the excessive human greed induced by uncontrolled desire to acquire and enjoy more and more of, rather un-limited, earthly comforts does not allow people to stay ethical. Business establishments readily get inflected by unethical practices. Some of the more common reasons for such unethical thoughts and acts are following: 

a. Concealing an inevitable unholy activity arising from: 

  • lack of nobility of purpose
  • very stringent local
  • legal stipulations
  • impractical social accountability requirements of the region
  • very high safety requirements
  • non-availability of sincere, honest and skilled workforce, etc.  
b. Concealing the heinous act of taking-over the responsibility to dispose-off toxic and hazardous wastes from other bigger industries and disposing them off, locally, in different names and in different forms without concern for the safety of the local environment and the people around.  
  • Resorting to innovatively identified operation short-cuts to circumvent situations of execution limitations
  • Concealing the act of not addressing certain social obligations 
  • Pursuing partly-developed technology without regard to personal and environmental safety aspects
  • Participating in development of special hacking-programmes to steal the precious data of other organisations

c. Getting involved in the generation and disposal of huge quantities of lethal weapons and warfare equipment (which add to growing social imbalance across the society due to concentration of power in a few pockets) under cover of various technical jargons. 

None of these unholy activities could be pursued without the support of administrative and law enforcement and controlling authorities. Organisations would first buy their goodwill through monetary favours (hard cash or cash in-kind and/or service). Once this act is successfully carried out, they get full licence to continue perpetuating their unholy activities. Some of the broad categories of these unethical activities are given below. Each one of them manifests in its own unique way. In fact, human imagination is the only limitation for the manifestation of unethical practices. Some of the common forms of unethical practices are given below. Business establishments should learn to carefully recognise and identify all these forms of unethical activities and guard themselves against the same. 

Social offence - Influencing a change in society’s guarded and/or conventional practices, customs and traditions. 

Cultural Offence - Implanting a different culture and influencing a change in the prevailing culture.

Legal Offence - Bypassing legal requirements and statutory stipulations through different means, including misconceptions and misguidance. 

Socio-economic Offence -  Adversely impacting either immediate and/or long-term effects and/or both on social wellbeing through some actions like adverse impact on general health, community welfare, environment, etc. It is becoming a cause for the steady creation of a situation that forces society to spend more to maintain its normal health status. 

Environmental offence – Merciless usage and uncontrolled exploitation of all-natural resources is a standard form of environmental offence practiced by most organisations.  Such acts could deprive the posterity of their basic right to know about virgin Nature’s generosity.  It could also create a situation that might force them to take to voyages to other planets in search of materials to support their existence. 

Another critical area is the unabated burning of precious fossil fuels, which would cause environmental pollution. This, in turn, results in a frequent outbreak of newer health problems caused by newer and newer forms of micro-organisms (bacteria, virus, fungus, etc.) and results in high economic costs to the society and forces the scientists to keep continuously identifying newer and newer bio-active chemicals to fight these newer micro-organisms.

Intellectual Offence – The mischievous human mind keeps identifying innovatively newer ways and means to commit the intellectual offence. One very common form of intellectual offence is either offering a wrong interpretation or offering an interpretation that may not have any relevance to the context of data generation. Some people take to this route to convey certain pre-contemplated wrong messages. Pre-targeted intellectuals readily fall prey to such ill-conceived motifs and keep spreading those wrong messages. Focussing on partly developed knowledge and sharing only a small portion of specific knowledge with biased objectives is another intellectual offence. One more heinous intellectual offence is direct participation in developing new knowledge for dedicated use in anti-social activities. However, another form of intellectual offence is not acknowledging the source of knowledge but using the same for personal gains.

Biological offence – 

  • Meddling with nature’s bio-diversity and bio-sphere, 
  • Meddling with natural vegetative and other bio-species, 
  • Participating in biological warfare through spreading of certain harmful/dreadful viruses, microbes, weeds, macro- and micro-organisms, 
  • Introducing certain unknown weeds in places with wrong objectives, 
  • Subjecting living species for experimentation. 

Pressure groups – 

  • Political groups that have sufficient muscle power and money power to put pressure on the public to leverage their specific interests, 
  • Social groups/societies that have sufficient muscle power and money power to put pressure on the public for a cause which the group conceives and believes right for some leveraging purposes.

Faith groups – 

  • Religious faith groups that can exert some influence on People in moulding their thought processes or collective behaviour/attitude, 
  • Forming collective groups to propagate certain cults or beliefs, 
  • Fanaticism/terrorism practised by some hardcore elements and faith groups can exert a forceful and/or harmful impact on people.

Pseudo-service groups - Private and/or public societies configured to collectively leverage pre-meditated selfish motives under the guise of service to society.


Dr. H. C. Mruthyunjaya, PHI Learning author is a Consultant (Corporate Systems). Dr. Mruthyunjaya was formerly a research scientist in Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He has over 35 years of professional experience in the fields of R&D, technology and knowledge management. He has authored two books in the fields of R&D and quality management.Author of  over 50 review articles in various fields of Quality Management and Business Management including invitation articles on Technology Management and Knowledge Management


PHI’s book Business Ethics and Value Systems by Dr. Mruthyunjaya deals with some fundamental issues associated with business ethics and value systems. It presents the views of different schools of thought on this subject and dissects the phenomenon of corruption to expose its root causes.

Explore more about this comprehensive and well-organised book and PHI Learning, please log on to: https://bit.ly/3Eu91Jr



Tuesday, 26 October 2021

'Google' is most searched word on Bing, Google says

 The top entry on Microsoft's Bing search engine is for its rival Google, Google has said.



The claim was made in court, as Google made its case to appeal against a €4.3bn ($5bn) fine from the European Union for abusing its market power.

The EU accused Google of using Android's success in the smartphone market to make Google the default search engine.

But Google says its service is simply the most popular.

"We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is, by far, 'Google'," lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the EU General Court, as first reported by Bloomberg. "People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to.

"Google's market share in general search is consistent with consumer surveys showing that 95% of users prefer Google to rival search engines."

  • US files landmark lawsuit against Google
  • Google fined €500m by French regulator
  • Microsoft blames error for 'Tank Man' censorship

Google's argument users choose its services is a key part of its appeal to the record 2018 fine.

At the time, Google boss Sundar Pichai blogged Android "has created more choice for everyone, not less".

But Margrethe Vestager, then the EU's Competition Commissioner, said Google had made Android manufacturers pre-install its search app and Chrome web browser - and paid some to make it the only pre-installed app - meaning only 1% of people downloaded a different search app

Source: www.bbc.com

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Wave Optics by Garg et al








Some of the major deficiencies of Indian higher education include:

  1. the scarcity of well-written textbooks authored by reputed professors and published by highly rated publishers,
  2. use of help books by students to pass examination and 
  3. over-emphasis on rote learning with little or no training on problem-solving. 

To improve the quality of education, it is essential to make good books available at a reasonable cost. The latest research and learning theories suggest that outcome-based learning with interactive text in-text questions and practice problems should provide a way to engage an average student in the learning process and enhance her/his learning experiences. Similarly, mastery in problem-solving is mandatory for nurturing creativity. This, no doubt, is a challenging task.

These ideas formed the basis of our work when we began to develop the manuscript of our book on Wave Optics, one of the most fascinating courses taught to undergraduate science students of major/honours and general degree programmes. We aimed to empower learners and enable them to see its principles at work and develop problem-solving skills by interspersing problems with graded difficulty levels throughout the text. 

A conscious effort was made to help learners apply theoretical knowledge to real-life problems and phenomena with the hope that the book's utility would be considerably enhanced. As we now know, the emergence of lasers, holography and fiber optics in recent years led to applications in communication, optical computing and medicine. Moreover, their applications have found revolutionary applications in space science, geospatial imaging, and cryptography in space, defence, agriculture, medicine, and mineralogy. We were conscious that a sound knowledge of their fundamental principles and developments would immensely enhance the utility of our textbook. The Wave Optics by Suresh Garg, Sanjay Gupta and CK Ghosh, published by PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi, fulfils many of these requirements and should be extremely useful to Indian students. Some of its salient features are:

  • Comprehensive coverage of the syllabi of all major universities as well as the new UGC syllabus
  • Rigorous treatment of subject matter while retaining a learner-friendly approach
  • Several in-text pedagogical questions, solved examples and practice problems to support self-learning.

It is said that a diagram is worth a thousand words. With faith in this dictum, we have tried to explain concepts using diagrams as and where required.

Happy Reading!

To know more about the book, please log on to: https://bit.ly/2XG0ByT



Sunday, 10 October 2021

TIPS, TRICKS AND TECHNIQUES FOR SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF ERPS By Sandeep Desai


ERPs are here to stay and seen as a standard option for enterprises. Enterprises could be Small, Medium or large. Appetite for ERPs – whether homegrown or off-the-shelf products is a necessity. Reasons for looking at ERPs are simple, and some of them are: Enterprises would like to borrow the best practices developed in some of the available products in the market instead of reinventing the wheels, have integrated business processes to derive a single version of the truth on information, businesses are always meant to scale, and hence, intended products are expected to be robust, scalable, and secured.

ERP implementations are seen to be a strategic move, and important stakeholders of the organizations, namely, Head of Organization, Business Owners, Head of Finance and IT must be involved in monitoring and guiding the project team from time to time.  

Selecting a product is always a tricky proposition and must be done in a careful manner. Few important takeaways from the well-known implementations are: look at the installed base of the product in the region, support, availability of skill sets within the organization, training and learning curve etc. 

The next important concern and step are to have an implementation partner. It is often seen implementation partner is selected based on the cost, market reputation etc. I personally feel the most important part of the selection is to see the domain expertise of the implementation partner so that effective communication with the businesses can be established. Does the implementation partner have a relevant knowledge base on the domain so that customers can benefit from the same? Therefore, interviewing partner and their team members from these dimensions becomes a crucial parameter.  

Implementation of ERPs is a daunting task, and hence, motivating internal as well as external team members is imperative. We often do this by creating internal team-building exercises, bringing external speakers on motivation, and giving them an off-site environment. Hence, allocating a suitable budget for these activities well in advance (ideally during kick-off) may not be a great surprise to stakeholders. 

Before we go to other trivial steps, namely, data migration and testing, let me take another important aspect of effective communication during the entire implementation life cycle. We must design a communication deck well in advance and distribute and present it to relevant leaders. Communication must include progress, risk and mitigation plans, roadblocks and expectations from management etc. There could be certain facts to be communicated only to top leadership, and project owners must be bold to communicate effectively and with possible suggestions.

Data migration and testing are trivial steps of any implementation. Generally, it is seen that organizations force a team to migrate whatever crap exist in the old system to be migrated to ERP.  There are many suggestions on the data migration, and some are: One can migrate data which is required for statutory assessment (let us take of last 6 – years) and rest put it on Data Warehouse and build Analytics layer, Bank and Insurance companies can look at only live policies of past 30+ years and rest put on analytics layer for an internal team to respond. As far as possible, do not migrate old videos or audio files as it is. One can look at the option of creating a BIG DATA environment. 

Testing is divided into 2 phases, namely, Integration and Model Office Testing. Integration testing is to ensure all the modules are tightly integrated and producing desired results. Model Office testing is in case enterprise have third-party products; ERP has developed interfaces with the product and organization can not function unless they handshake well. Therefore, model office testing is imperative. 

Last but not least, technical and functional documentation will be the treasure of all the above efforts. Good documentation will serve the current team and help the process manual for the organization, and annual audits can also take the help of process audits, etc. Technical documentation is a useful tool for maintenance, next upgrades – major or minor etc. On-going maintenance of documentation is a must. I always recommend an audit of documentation to ensure they are updated regularly in line with the embedded or changed processes. 

Needless to say, many organizations seem to be celebrating ‘Go live’ in a grand way. Acknowledging project team members with proper achievement certificates and awards to motivate them will add employee delight and encouragement. 

Beyond ERPs

The fun begins after about six months to one year of implementation where-in the leadership team expect quick reports, would like to see a design and engineering needs to be addressed in the latest implemented ERP. Appetite for computing grows, and ERP seems to be having limitations. 

This is going to be an interesting and challenging situation for the existing IT team to look at beyond ERP, and some of the reasons are: user requirements are not adequately addressed in current ERP and to fulfil separate licensing and implementation costs to be incurred with long-drawn timelines, implemented ERP is not meant of new intended requirement etc.    Noted business requirements which are beyond existing ERP implementations are Analytics (dashboards, data mining, predictive analytics etc.), Document, Design and Employee Collaborations, Customer Relationship Management, Demand Forecast Planning, High-tech engineering and design solutions to emulate real-life situations (for example, 5D, 6D modelling), Estimation and Risk modelling, automating repetitive tasks etc. 

To address the above business needs, one must research carefully various technologies available in the market in the field of collaboration, content management, analytics, design and engineering, business process automation, estimation and risk modelling. Some of them are available in the SAAS platform, and a few are on-premise as well.  

Most of the Systems Integrators (SI), namely, IBM, HP, Microsoft, AUTODESK etc. are well equipped with the above technologies, and more importantly, they are well integrated with well-known ERPs. There are open-source products available with the support and can also be integrated with ERPs. 

One caution of implementing the above technologies by interfacing with ERP is IT security, and most of the applications are exposed to the outside world. Therefore, addressing security framework is of paramount importance to the organization and must be addressed with proper assessment and recommended to audit the entire environment periodically.

Needless to emphasize, success in implementing extended technologies have to be planned with a partner who possesses the right skills, and the next key for success is not to take too many initiatives in one go…ideally one key initiative at any point in time!!

To understand general implementation methodologies as well as specific methodologies prescribed by Oracle and SAP for the implementation of their products, explore our book ERP TO E2RP: A CASE STUDY APPROACH by Desai and Srivastava.

For more information, please visit ERP TO E2RP : A CASE STUDY APPROACH


Sandeep Desai — The author of book ERP TO E2RP: A CASE STUDY APPROACH

 

 

 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Accounting More Important Than Ever During Pandemic


Accounting being the language of business has always played a significant role in every economy of the world. The increasing significance of accounting in a digital world during pandemic COVID 19 has become a debatable issue among students, academicians, professionals and industry experts. The accountants have played a considerable role in managing the funds of businesses during this great pandemic. The analytical skills and ability of accountants have made accounting really a highly demanding profession during the great pandemic COVID 19. Accountants and corporate finance professionals have helped organizations a lot by increasing effectiveness by comparing pricing scenarios, evaluating investment opportunities and looking for new ways to curtail operating expenses. 

Due to the emergent degree and interval of the pandemic, organizations have been experiencing circumstances associated with a general financial recession due to financial market volatility, fading credit, liquidity concern, additional increase in government interference, growing unemployment, turn down in consumer discretionary expenditure, rising inventory level, less production due to reduced demand, layoffs and other reshuffling activities.  To save the economies from this crisis, accounting has been playing a beautiful role in the current scenario by serving the best interests of entrepreneurs, creditors, investors, employees, management, government and others. It has helped to gauge the financial health, profitability, viability and consistency of business organizations. As a fundamental and comprehensive tool, it has supported every organization to achieve the aim of value maximization.

With this aim, the importance of talented and steadfast financial accountants have heightened during times of financial upheaval. Even during uncertain times, the business community has to look to accountants for their analytical insights and their stewardship of corporate finance.

To cope up with the challenges of this global pandemic, the book Basic Accounting provides an in-depth knowledge of accounting concepts, procedures and techniques which are a must for accounting as well as non-accounting professionals. 


The book covers the most important topics like preparation of final accounts, the rectification of errors, Bank reconciliation statement, depreciation, computerized accounting, fund flow statement, cash flow statement, accounts of non-trading organizations and sources of finance as well as share capital also. This book fosters a firm understanding of these topics to help finance managers as well as accountants to effectively hold the revenues and funds of organizations.

The book has been especially designed for undergraduate students of computer application (BCA) and business administration (BBA). It also proved to be of immense value to the postgraduate students of business administration (MBA).

Visit www.phindia.com to have a glimpse of the book and its detailed contents. 


Click https://bit.ly/3A4A1wn to purchase it.


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